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|What impact will '09 class have?|
So what impact will the latest LSU recruiting class have on the 2009 team?
A greater impact than the 2008 class, that's for sure.
Looking at next year's depth chart and the phenomonal athletes coming in, I can see as many as four or five getting significant playing time next season.
I have to say I have never felt better about a position where the starter is a sophomore and the back-up is a true freshman, but I am very excited about the quarterback position.
Jordan Jefferson showed when he was giving free rein that he can be one of the top quarterbacks in the Southeastern Conference. Jefferson will go in as No. 1, while Jarrett Lee will have to battle for the No. 2 spot against freshman Russell Sheppard.
Sheppard is the real deal and his maturity will have him ready to play soon.
I hope Les Miles learned his lesson by not giving Jefferson a lot of playing time early in the season last year when it was available and will allow Sheppard in the game whenever the opportunity presents itself.
At running back is Charles Scott and his back-up band.
Scott is looking to come in a little lenner this year and an improved passing game will certainly make him more effective.
Keiland Williams had flashes of brilliance, but should return to the form he showed in his sophomore season.
Stevan Ridley of Natchez should get a decent shot at fullback.
True freshman Dominque Allen of Paris, Tn, will also see playing time.
I wouldn't be surprised to see LSU go to one-back offense at times to take advantage of its athleticism at quarterback.
There's a lot of talent at tight end with Richard Dickson returning, along with Mitch Joseph and Tyler Edwards.
Brett Helmes will be missed at center, but a couple of redshirt freshman will be looked at in Patrick Lonergan and T-Bob Hebert, the son of Bobby Hebert.
Lyle Hitt returns for his senior season at right guard, while Josh Dworacyk saw a lot of playing time as a freshman last year and should start at left guard. Sophomore Will Blackwell should also see playing time.
Senior Ciron Black said no to the NFL and provides the anchor at left tackle.
Junior Joseph Barksdale returns at right tackle.
Stavion Lowe (6'4", 305), of Brownwood, Texas is a true freshman who is projected to play guard in college.
He was highly recruited and received over 20 scholarship offers before committing to LSU including offers from Auburn, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Arkansas, TCU and Alabama.
Brandon LaFell is back after saying no to the NFL and should benefit with the emergence of Reuben Randle, a true freshman from Bastrop who has greatness written all over him. Terrance Tolliver should also step up next season.
On the defensive side, Rahim Alem should do what Tyson Jackson was expected to do more of last year - put pressure on the quarterback.
Redshirt freshman Chase Clement may be a surprise.
Redshirt freshman Chancey Aghayere will be on the other side, while the middle will consist of sernior Charles Alexander and junior Drake Nevis, who will both be pushed by senior Al Woods.
True freshman Sam Montgomery (6'4" 220) of Greenwood, SC, will probably find himself in the mix in the early going and may be starting by midseason.
The linebacker position was cause for concern last year, but senior Perry Riley was certainly no slouch.
Jacob Cutrera will be steady and juniors Kelvin Sheppard and Ace Foyil will become household names this season.
Those guys will be pushed by a couple of true freshmen in Barkevious Mingo of West Monroe and Tahj Jones of Sulphur.
With some added muscle, Jones will be a beast.
Patrick Peterson is headed for a sensation sophomore season at cornerback, while Chris Hawkins and Jai Eugene should make great strides.
I'm expecting bigger things from Chad Jones, who went through a sophomore slump.
Harry Coleman will be pushed by true freshman Craig Loston, Craig Loston (S, 6'3", 210, 4.4) Aldine Eisenhower.
Top rated, 5-star safety had over 40 offers and chose LSU over Oregon and Texas. who chose LSU over Oregon and Texas and about 40 other schools.
Josh Jasper returns as the kicker and Derek Helton will start out as punter and that will be his position to lose.
Trinidon Holliday will hopefully get more chances to return punts this season - not kickoffs because that means the other team is scoring a lot.
The good news is not only is this team going to be competitive, but a number of the guys who will contribute are freshmen, red-shirt freshman or sophomores.
On paper the Tigers should be ranked in the top 10 next season and among the top five at least the next three years. Making that jump from paper to playing dield is Miles' next challenge.
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